Classic French Bikes
I thought I’d present some vintage French 531 frames and a Motobecane Le Champion that I sold this summer, and I thought I’d put a few of the most interesting ones on here. My favourite was the gold framed Peugeot pictured above, I can’t say what model it is because I find the Peugeot catalogues containing the varying models of this era, the PY’s and PN’s etc, very confusing and I will likely get it wrong. What’s more, this bike was built using a variety of parts that distanced it from its original model. Nevertheless, it was a very handsome bike, I loved the colour combinations of decals and frame, the half chromed forks and chromed fork crowns, the still glossy finish to the paintwork. It was a 57cm, and unfortunately had some bad chips on its top tube which had turned rusty. It was in quite a sorry state when I bought it, so much so that the whole transmission was stuck in a state of thick gunk. It’s amazing how these bikes can be transformed with a good couple of day’s worth of restoration.
Reynolds 531 straight gauge tubing, 57cm centre to top, 57 top tube centre to centre, 120mm rear spacing, 14.5cm head tube, Simplex dropouts. The weight of the frameset was 4.3kilos complete with included headset, bb, crankset and stem.
In France it was called the “c5”; here and in the U.S. it was named “Le Champion”, and I know from my time in the U.S. at these frames are greatly admired by Americans and rightly so. This example was in excellent condition with very few scratches, and the paintwork was as glossy and shiny as when it left the Motobecane factory in the late 1970’s. Happily, I can date this one to 1978, as the original owner was very helpful answering my questions.
This Le Champion: Reynolds 531 tubing, 57cm centre to top, 57 top tube centre to centre, 120mm rear spacing, 14.5cm head tube, Simplex dropouts, weight 4.3kilos complete with included crankset and stem. It may not have the cache of earlier Le Champions which were of higher quality with their Nervex lugs, chromed stays and forks and built with better components, but it is still a beautiful vintage frame set from the Motobecane brand.
Finally we have an orange Peugeot frameset that was slightly smaller than the ones above, a 56cm with black headtube lugs and half chromed forks, Simplex dropouts. This one I determined as a 1975 Peugeot PR 10L vintage frameset, 57cm top tube centre to centre, 120mm rear spacing, weighs 3.69 kilo. Reynolds 531 tubing. Original classic orange colour, one of my favourite colour combinations of these Peugeots. French threaded bottom bracket and headset.